Who Owns Big Oil?

Do you own an oil company?

In a 2011 update on a study of oil and natural gas company ownership, the Sonecon consulting firm found that nearly 50 percent of all corporate shares are held by public and private pension and retirement funds, including 401(k)s, and IRAs. Individual investors own 20 percent, while financial institutions and asset management companies own 27 percent. That's 97 percent. Fewer than 3 percent is owned by corporate executives and board members.

This means that when oil companies do well financially, it is very likely that you do too, either through better returns on your pension or IRA or on other investments like mutual funds and CDs.

It is clear that healthy oil and natural gas industry earnings are a benefit to millions of Americans' retirement security. And that's not the only way in which strong earnings benefit Americans: The oil and natural gas industry contributes billions of dollars to the U.S. economy through federal and state revenues, jobs, and capital projects. This is especially true in Alaska, where contributions from the oil and gas industry make up about 92 percent of the state's revenues.

Bottom line: We all depend on a thriving oil and gas industry in our state.